McClanahan sharp as Rays win once again

by Gary Shelton on August 20, 2021

in general

Lowe hit his 29th home run./CHUCK MULLER

Friday, 4 a.m.

You can argue that they are a deck without aces. The Tampa Bay Rays are gifted in a lot of areas, but starting pitching isn't one of them.

Heck, you can argue this deck doesn't have a King, either. Or a Jack. Maybe an eight of clubs.

But more and more, Shane McClanahan is starting to look like the ranking card in the Rays' hand.

McClanahan was sharp again Wednesday afternoon, leading the Rays to a 7-2 victory over Baltimore and a four-game sweep of their series. The Rays are 15-1 against the Orioles this season.

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McClanahan denies it, but he seems to have taken it as a personal goal to replace the injured Tyler Glasnow. McClanahan is 6-2 since Glasnow was hurt, and he leads the Rays' starters in wins and ERA.

"I don't think you could ask any more than what Shane has given us for 20 starts (actually 18) in his first season," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "I'd describe it as he has been steady. Any time he's had an adversity, he's had the ability to bounce back. He's doing a lot of good things and he continues to get better. Today, he was clean, he was efficient."

For the day, McClanahan went five innings and allowed just five hits and one earned run.

It was his 12th straight start allowing 3 runs or fewer, the longest streak by a traditional Rays starter since Blake Snell had 14 in 2018.

"I think once you put expectations on yourself, you can somewhat fail," McClanahan said. "Try to control what you control. Try to go out there every game and put the team in position to win. I don't think anyone’s felt the pressure to step up."

These days, the Rays' hitters are making it easier for the pitching staff. In the four games against Baltimore, the Rays scored 34 runs and had 42 hits.

The big bats on Thursday included Brandon Lowe (who had his 29th homer), Wander Franco (who has now reached base in 21 straight games) and Randy Arozarena (who has reached base in 18). Lowe, Austin Meadows and Ji-Man Choi all had two RBI.

Lowe's recent surge (he has 20 RBI in August) left Cash feeling pleased.

"How can you not be?" Cash said. "He had the big leadoff double. He hits the home run on a big curveball. He’s swinging as hot a bat as anybody on our team, maybe in baseball, and he’s doing it with a lot of power."

The Rays open a three-game series at Tropicana Field with the AL-Central leading Chicago White Sox tonight at 7:10 p.m. Michael Wacha will start for the Rays against Lucas Giolito 


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